Enugu Demolitions: CLO calls for caution

March 12, 2020

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The Civil Liberties Organisation, CLO, South East Zone,
calls on the Enugu State Government to thread with caution and exercise
restraint in the ongoing demolition of alleged illegal structures in the
capital territory.

The Governor Ugwuanyi administration is also called upon to
monitor the activities of the Enugu Capital Territory Development Authority,
ECTDA closely to ensure that they don’t overstep their boundaries, engage in
human rights violations or corrupt practices.

The above submissions of the CLO South East Zone
becomes  imperative owing to series of
complaints and ugly stories pouring into the information box of the
organisation  over the activities of
ECTDA in recent times.

Residents of Enugu were given an unpalatable New Year gift
by ECTDA who carried out demolitions in several parts of the city like
Independent layout, New Haven, Trans Ekulu, Artisan, Kenyatta Market, GRA and
some others.

Some poor traders were displaced from their points of
business locations while others lost their buildings, properties and goods to
the demolition exercise. There were also reports of brutality meted on the
hapless citizens by thugs allegedly engaged by the ECTDA .

Agreed that it is of prime importance to restore the City
Master Plan of Enugu and also maintain the aesthetic beauty of the Coal City
but such activities should be carried out with human face , respect for the
citizen’s human rights, dignity and consideration for the plight of the victims
going forward.

In carrying out its assigned roles and duties, ECTDA seems
to be selective instead of holistic.  If
there is a commitment to restore Enugu’s original Master Plan, the exercise
should be holistic and not selective. There are several areas in Enugu capital
city including the historical Enugu Zoo which has been sold out to private
developers and private buildings erected therein.

There have been reports also of indiscriminate annexation,
balkanization and excising of lands in public institutions in Enugu, now sold
out to private developers and structures erected therein, without recourse to
the original Master Plan of the city.

It is also a settled maxim in the public parlance that “he
who goes to equity must come with clean hands”. 
Years back, the popular Onoh Quarters in Enugu GRA was occupied fully by
residents and tenants who maintained their tenement fees and rents.

But at a time, the present helmsman in charge of affairs at
ECTDA, Joseph Umunnakwe Ken Onoh, allegedly ejected some tenants in the
quarters forcefully, knocked down some buildings in the residential quarters
and built an entertainment centre and lounge in the quarters.  Today, the twin lodge and entertainment
centre still stands among the residential quarters with its accompanying noise
and disturbance to the residents.

The CLO also calls on the Enugu State Governor to look into
the outrageous Vetting Fees scheduled by ECTDA released on 31st December 2019.
According to the release, Developers for Bungalows are to pay N250, 000, Duplex
–N350, 000, Block of flats-N750, 000. Hotels are to pay between N1.5 million to
N10, 000,000 depending on the number of rooms even as filling stations,
shopping malls and schools have been pegged at between N2M to N2.5M.

Offices, hospitals, hostels, banks, telecommunication masts
and markets also have their own stipulated fees ranging from N3M to N5M.

Agreed that government needs to shore up its revenue base in
order to meet up with its financial obligations, but there is need to take into
consideration the existential realities on ground and living conditions of the
citizens before certain levies are imposed on them.

 Governor Ifeanyi  Ugwuanyi 
enjoys input legitimacy more than all other governors of the five south
east states going by the resounding support his mandate received across
different parts of the state both in his first and second tenure elections.

It was a mass movement as the masses stood by him and freely
gave him the mandate at the polls in an unprecedented manner. For this reason
alone, all actions of the administration should be pro-masses at all times.

It should also be noted that the bulk of the masses who
voted for him cannot  enjoy any other
personal benefits from the administration other than making their living
conditions better through the provision of amenities and ensuring that high
cost of living doesn’t spiral out of control.

When certain government actions tend to displace them and
make them loose their bearing, it touches the marrows and sends a very serious
wrong signal.

We therefore call on the government to review its demolition
strategy, review also the vetting fees and ensure that the ECTDA activities are
not carried out in an insensitive manner.

The low income earners and the rich should co-exist in Enugu
city. Anything that touches on the sensibilities of the masses and the lowly
should be handled with caution, consideration for their welfare with
palliatives and alternative arrangements put in place.

Signed for The CLO, South East Zone

Comrade Aloysius Attah

Zonal Chair



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